TRIBUTES have been paid to a young coach who has started up his own basketball club in Warrington.

James McCloskey from Culcheth has poured his heart and soul into the venture to the extent that he even pays the court fees himself to allow youngsters to have satisfactory training facilities.

The 23-year-old started Culcheth Cobras at Birchwood Leisure Centre in September and the club has enjoyed a rapid rise.

"He is so passionate about the sport and his club has grown from strength to strength," said a proud parent.

"After starting off with just one player he now has over 30!

"Funding the court fees himself to make sure the players have a proper court to practice, he has put his all into it!"

The parent added: "James is so passionate about the kids he coaches.

"The difference in them from when they first started to now is incredible.

"The have grown in confidence, skill and have a real respect for their coach."

McCloskey's input goes beyond court practice and game time at the Ball Hall in Latchford, where one of his age groups will soon take up training on Fridays.

"James has arranged a team outing to watch Manchester Giants which they all loved," said the parent.

"James arranged a Sport Relief event for his teams on Wednesday which was a huge success.

"Two of the professional players from Manchester Giants attended."

Parents of the players involved see McCloskey's qualities rubbing off on his players.

"James has a natural ability to give the players in his club confidence in themselves," said the parent.

"He always installs and teaches team spirit, manners, and sportsmanship.

"James can easily detect if one player is feeling 'off' and with the help of his other coach is able to give them one to one time if required.

"The parents have a great rapport with James, they are always thanking him for what he achieves with the players."

McCloskey is well known in the basketball community.

He continues to develop his coaching skills and has recently been helping out at Cheshire Wire.

"When you see James coaching his spirit and passion for the game and the kids he is coaching just shines through," said the parent.